I was in the Philippines for a couple of weeks and had a blast. However the twenty hour flight to and from was not fun at all.
The plane landed at the airport in Manila and I was picked up at the by a couple friends. This was my first time in the Philippines so I did not know what to expect. Even though I arrived late at night, the traffic on the roads was absolutely horrible. There were so many cars on the road and everyone was in a rush to get nowhere fast.
I stayed at a friends condo located near the airport. The nearby homes were definitely something I was not expecting to see. Things like napkins and toilet paper we take for granted in the states are very hard to come by in the Philippines and considered a luxury.
My travel in the Philippines consisted of cars, vans, buses, mass public transit, jeepneys, motorcycles, airplanes, and boats. Most however, was in a van similar to this one pictured. The road trips were long, sometimes six hours and that van was packed. And by packed, I am talking about seventeen people plus their baggage, packed. Those rides were absolute torture on my body.
We left the busy and hectic city of Manila and stayed in the slower and more relaxing province of Natividad in Pangasinan. I really enjoyed the time we spent here. The people were so friendly, the food was amazing, and the land was green and beautiful.
On our last night in Natividad we met up with some friends in town, had some drinks and made lubi-lubi. It is a dessert that is made with cassava, margarine, condensed milk and topped with grated coconut and brown sugar. It is delicious but a very tiresome process to make. It took many of us guys a lot of turns pounding the ingredients together. It was totally worth it.
The food here was really good. I tried everything and loved it all. The bowl of frogs were intimidating at first, but after seeing someone else eat them I dove right in. My daily meals consisted mostly of rice and fish. I was feeling adventurous and tried balut, a boiled duck egg with a small embryo inside. It was a challenge to eat but I did it. Gotta live the culture and experience new things.
Next, we hopped a plane to El Nido in the province of Palawan. This was the best part of my vacation. We stayed at a little hotel overlooking the beach. The water was amazingly clear and its temperature was warm. We went out on a few different excursions for two days seeing some beautiful sites at located at many different islands. I absolutely loved snorkeling at each of the islands. It was so cool to see the amazing coral and so many different types of fish all within a arms reach.
Lastly, we traveled to Puerto Princesa and went to the Underground River. It is one of the new 7 wonders of the world. We traveled through it in a paddle boat viewing its contents with a small battery powered spotlight. The cave featured many beautiful mineral, crystal, and rock formations. Unfortunately, because of the lack of available light inside of the cave, and the use of my phones camera, I was unable to capture any images of the inside.
This vacation to the Philippines was very fun and much needed. I seen some amazing sites, experienced many new things, and met some really great people too!